Sittingbourne & Milton Regis Golf Club, in Kent, has seen some amazing results on their fairways from using Scotts Sierrablen 27+5+5 controlled release fertilizer. The club has been using the product every two years since 1992, but in the very dry conditions last year, the special coating technology of the fertilizer extended its normal 8-9 month longevity to an incredible 12 months and beyond - providing 'carry over' of nutrients through the winter months.
Dave Horn, the club's course manager, applied the product in March 2006 before one of the hottest and driest summers on record. The sward composition of his fairways is a mixture of perennial ryegrass, fescues, Poa annua and bent grasses.
The application rate was 40g per sq m delivering a nutrient input per hectare of 108kg nitrogen, 20kg phosphorous and 20kg potassium. The product is formulated to have a longevity of 8-9 months at an average soil temperature of 21°C. This type of nutrient delivery lightly 'spoon feeds' the sward with a steady stream of nutrients over a season-long period, removing the need for constant 'topping up' applications.
Sierrablen has excellent turf safety against scorch, when used on large areas such as fairways where artificial irrigation is not available. It achieves this through the use of an organic resin coating around the nutrient granule itself, forming a barrier between grass plant and the granule.
David Horn commented: "After application, the fairways exhibited a consistent colour and growth performance with excellent divot recovery throughout the growing season. The drought recovery of the turf was also very good when finally the rains arrived during the latter part of the summer after nearly three months without significant rainfall.
"Mowing frequency prior to the drought was 2-3 times per week at 18mm cutting height. This height has been maintained throughout the past 12-month period, with good results in terms of sward density and root development."
Dave Horn feels the 'carry over' effect of the Sierrablen product is one of the benefits of using controlled release fertilizer technology on sports turf. "The 8-9 month product will in fact last over 12 months if you factor in the dormant release period which occurs during very dry or cold conditions - a fact borne out by the photographs taken of the fairways in April this year some 13 months after application," said Dave. "This allowed the Sittingbourne fairways to commence growth at the start of the busy growing season with no additional nutrient or labour needed."
This year the club will be applying Primo MAXX plant growth regulator, tank mixed with 20 litres of Greenmaster 14+3+10, to the fairways to complement the results from the bi-annual application of Sierrablen.
"I will definitely continue to use Sierrablen fertilizer on my golf course fairways and tees," Dave added. "It helps me and my greens staff to maintain the very high standard of sward quality and aesthetic appearance that the members here have come to expect, and it has also enabled us to reduce labour costs."
Scotts Professional is based at Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, Ipswich IP8 4BZ. Telephone: 0871 220 5353, fax: 01473 830386, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. - An application of Scotts Sierrablen fertilizer 12 months ago to the fairways at Sittingbourne & Milton Regis Golf Club is still delivering nutrients and keeping the turf looking superb.
2. - Picture shows the excellent sward density on the fairways at Sittingbourne.